Reception Held for ‘Russia Through the Looking Glass’
The Mooney Center Gallery held an opening reception October 26 for Russia Through the Looking Glass: Terror, Humanity, and Geo-Politics Through History.
The exhibit, by Anne Bobroff-Hajal, runs through November 16.
With Russia again erupting onto the world stage via often-puzzling actions, a new art exhibit, Russia Through the Looking Glass, immerses us in a world whose logic at first appears to be the opposite of our own. Bobroff-Hajal’s whimsical, icon-like triptychs — some of them massive, up to 6 x 9 feet — include hundreds of tiny, colorful portraits of Russians from the time of Ivan the Terrible to the end of the 20th century, from the lowliest peasants through the vastly wealthy nobility to the Tsars and Stalin. And these portraits aren’t stiff or impassive. They portray each individual competing for power within a complex clan system, periodically terrorized back into line by the ultimate boss, whether Tsar or Stalin, protecting the populace against Mongols, slave-raiders, or Nazis.
Comical yet deadly serious, Bobroff-Hajal’s art helps us understand even the most horrifying historical events by making them fun yet accurate. Characters “sing” in rhyming lyrics composed by Bobroff-Hajal. Stalin appears as an infant in swaddling, his mustache already full-grown. Catherine the Great has magnificent wings of gold so heavy she must be hoisted aloft by a team of mightily-struggling serfs.